Title: discussions in places that are pretty damn unlikely
Pairing: Yesung (Jongwoon) / Kyuhyun
Prompt: 21, park benches
Notes: As usual, part of the Mirantae universe. Takes place during Blindfolds.
“You’re General Kim, right?” he asks.
Yesung looks up, shocked. “Which one?” he asks automatically.
(It seems like instinct now whenever someone refers to him by his last name--for god's sake, even his best friend has the same last name as him. There's one other General Kim anyways, so it's cool.)
“Kim Jongwoon,” he clarifies.
Yesung looks at him. “Why do you want to know?”
“I’ve heard of you,” he replies.
Yesung sighs. “Everyone’s heard of me. Mostly bad things.”
“No, that’s not true,” his stranger argues. “You manage to deal with the enemy’s armies in one of the most dangerous places, didn’t you?”
“Who are you?” Yesung asks.
“Lieutenant-general Cho Kyuhyun,” he says, and stands a little straighter. He gives a half-hearted salute—which he shouldn’t do, because he’s not in uniform, but Yesung doesn’t mind. He’s not a tightass like Siwon about stuff like that.
“Sit,” Yesung says, and pats the bench next to him. Kyuhyun hesitates, but he does anyways because it’s either an order or because he wants to, Yesung doesn’t know.
“Are you on leave?” Kyuhyun asks him.
Yesung looks away. “Yeah. Yeah, I am. You?”
“Same,” Kyuhyun says. “You were in Amistarr, right?”
“How was it?” Kyuhyun asks.
There are two options he can give him—the nice one and the horrible one.
But, Kyuhyun is—almost?—an adult right now. He can handle it, right?
“Amistarr,” Yesung tells Kyuhyun, “isn’t a very nice place.”
“Well. It was nice in the beginning—“
“In the beginning?”
“Maybe not nice, but bearable. It was kind of like Mayglen.” Yesung looks up. “Except there was a lot of pollution and everything, so you couldn’t see the sky.”
“But Mayglen’s not that bad,” Kyuhyun says.
“Amistarr wasn’t either,” Yesung says. “But then it really started happening.”
“What did?” Kyuhyun asks.
“When I first got there, we were just there as “cautionary measures” or something like that. Then. Then, it started getting bad.”
“Just…I can’t describe it. It just felt like we weren’t doing anything.”
“But weren’t you out on the front lines?”
“We were. And we did fight. And we killed. But, it just didn’t seem like it had a point.”
“How long have you been there?”
“I don’t even know,” Yesung says. “Too long, probably.”
“What did you do?”
“You haven’t heard?” Yesung asks, shocked. “I swear everyone heard. The general responsible for thousands of deaths, and so on and so forth.”
“I guess rumours are different inside and outside of the forces,” Kyuhyun says. “I’ve only really heard good things about you.”
“They’re lies,” Jongwoon says. “I’m really not that good of a person. Or a general. Like, I don't know...I guess I just got promoted because I was there. You know? Token promotions, and shit like that."
"They probably had reasons," Kyuhyun says.
"Actually," Jongwoon says suddenly, "maybe it was just because I did what I was told."
"That's not a bad thing," Kyuhyun assures him.
"What if you got told to shoot someone you knew? And what if you did it? How would you feel?" Jongwoon asks slowly.
"Oh," Kyuhyun says. "Oh."
"Exactly," Jongwoon says, and sighs. "I don't know. This army--this war--is just really messed up. We went wrong somewhere."
"We did?" Kyuhyun asks.
"If it even started in the first place," Jongwoon tells him, "then that there's a sign that we screwed up royally."
"It was," Kyuhyun says sincerely, "really nice to meet you, sir."
Jongwoon half-smiles. (He's been getting better at it lately.) "You too, Kyuhyun."
"Good luck," Kyuhyun says. "I hope the future treats you well."
Jongwoon ruffles Kyuhyun’s hair. "Same to you. Same to you."
He really means it, because Kyuhyun deserves it. He deserves it because he is kind and trusting and kind of innocent and because he actually has a future ahead of him. Because Jongwoon doesn't, and because he wishes Kyuhyun the best.
"Goodbye then, Lieutenant-general," Jongwoon says.
"You too, sir," Kyuhyun replies. He salutes briefly (even though he shouldn't because he's not in uniform) and leaves.
Title: things that you want but probably won't ge t
Prompt: 38, "I want you to stay forever"
Notes: Again, part of the Mirantae universe. Takes place a little before Locket, during Blindfolds.
I’m here for my transfer,” Kibum says, and Leeteuk looks up and sighs and is disappointed and doesn’t say anything negative—
“Any preferences? He asks and looks down at his papers, pretending to actually do something.
“Anywhere is fine,” Kibum says. Preferably near here, he adds in his head but it wouldn’t be quite right to say it out loud. Would it? He doubts it.
“Alright,” Leeteuk says, and looks through his sheets for real. Antaia is full. Vesperia is full. Mayglen is full, and despite his best efforts to find some place relatively close by, the only city with an opening (well, soon to be opening in this case) is Entyrum.
“Is Entyrum okay?” he asks.
Kibum blinks. “Yeah, that’s—“ too far away I don’t want to go— “fine. When do I leave?”
“In a few weeks,” Leeteuk says. “You’ll be replacing Lietenant-general Kim Heechul. So…you can take a bit of a vacation.”
Kibum nods. “Alright. Thank you, sir.” He leaves.
When Leeteuk comes out of the building after work, he sees Kibum (who’s changed into casual clothes between now and the time he last saw him) sitting on the steps out of the Ministry of Defense.
“You know if you hang around here too long,” Leeteuk tells him as he leans on Kibum’s shoulders and looks down from above, “that they’ll kick you out, right?”
“I have my ID on me,” Kibum says as he looks up at Leeteuk.
“That’s slightly better,” Leeteuk says.
“Sit.” And Leeteuk does, despite the fact that he’s still in uniform and that he realls should be going home because he still has paperwork to do.
(Join the army, have adventures! Meet people! Save the world! Do paperwork!)
“So you’ll be leaving,” Leeteuk states, and he doesn’t look at him.
“I know,” Kibum replies. “Entyrum’s far off, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” Leeteuk says. “I wish I could’ve found a closer place.”
“Same,” Kibum agrees, and fiddles around with his fingers.
“I’m sorry,” Leeteuk apologizes.
“Don’t be,” Kibum tells him. “It’s not your fault. How long has Heechul been there?”
Leeteuk tries to remember (he does try and keep track of the people he’s directly in charge of, he really does—). “Almost a year, I think.”
“That’s not very long,” Kibum comments.
“It isn’t,” Leeteuk agrees.” But he went there straight from Amistarr. And it’s almost time for his leave anyways. So…”
“Amistarr,” Kibum says, impressed. “He was there?”
“Yeah. For about…four years?”
“So just when it was starting to get bad.”
“Pretty much.” There’s a pause. “But still, Entyrum…”
“Don’t worry,” Kibum says. “I shouldn’t be there that long.”
“Yeah,” Leeteuk agrees—maybe more for himself than for Kibum. “Siwon should be fone there soon.”
“So don’t fret,” Kibum tells him.
Leeteuk looks down. “I was not.” There’s silence again as they sit together comfortably.
“I want you to stay forever,” Leeteuk says.
“So do I,” Kibum says. “But…I guess I have to go.”
“I’ll miss you,” Leeteuk tells him and looks down at the concrete stairs. “Many times over.”
“I will too,” Kibum promises. He looks at his watch. “I should get going,” he says regretfully.
“Same,” Leeteuk sighs. “I’ll see you later?”
Kibum nods. “Yeah. Call me when you’re free, okay?”
“I will. Let’s make the most of these last weeks.”
“For sure,” Kibum smiles. Leeteuk does too.
And they part ways.;
Title: lies that you've told yourself and others, but mainly others
Pairing: Yesung/Yesung (Yesung/Jongwoon? Jongwoon/Jongwoon? What...?)
Prompt: 61, disguises
Notes: Part of the Mirantae universe. Also takes place during Blindfolds.
You realize one day that you have been, whether on purpose or not (maybe more of the second than the first) hiding from everyone.
It's a scary thought. Because these are people that are supposed to be your friends. People that you are supposed to trust, people that you aren't supposed to act like you're some sort of...oh, you don't know. International spy or something around.
And it, despite what you thought it might mean to you, is more aggravating than you thought it would be.
You hide behind names and personalities. And it's not just now. You've been doing it for--god, how long has it been? Eight years? Give or take? And that's the scary part, because you're not sure if you did it on purpose or subconsciously or by accident or what anymore.
You have to face up to the fact that yes, you really have been lying to your best friend for eight years.
Fuck, you are so going to hell.
It's not that you did it purposefully, you try and console yourself. You really didn't mean to create a completely new personality back then. You really didn't. You just thought it might be a nice change to not be the shy, introverted person you were back then and then eventually that personality ran away from your control and you ended becoming someone totally, totally, totally different from what you were.
(And you really, really hope Ryeowook doesn't talk to too many people that you used to know.)
And then there's now. There's now, when you've not only given yourself a totally different name (Yesung, Jongwoon...thre are what, two common letters in there?), but a completely different past and personality and--fuck, the only thing you didn't manage to change about yourself is your mental disorder. Possible disorders. Possibly plural.
Hell, definitely plural. You're too messed up for one mental disease to describe alone.
And that's a sad, sad truth. And it makes you sad and if Hankyung found out he'd be sad and that would make you even sadder and Heechul would be sad too and then the world might possibly go to hell and it's more likely than you think because you have a bigger part in the fate of Mirantae than you think, surprisingly enough.
(You never told anybody, when you were little, that you wanted to be a soldier or general or person who screwed over a ton of other people's lives when you grew up.
And you wonder how it turned to this.
Oh, irony. Wait, that's not the word. Something like, oh, how life likes kicking me in the teeth might work better.)
But you don't have the courage to own up. You don't have the courage to come out from behind your defenses, don't have the courage to say "Look, this is the real me, deal," to everyone that you've lied to over the course of your messed-up (very messed up) lifetime, which is--a--lot.
And that's depressing.
Oh, so depressing.
Excuse me while I go cry, you'll say. Excuse me while I go think about how I not only screwed up my life but screwed up tons of others. Excuse me while I continue to exist as a worthless person.
Excuse me while I continue to hide behind my disguises.
Maybe someday you'll come out from behind your many personae. Maybe someday you'll tell the peole that you've lied to for such a long time the truth. Someday, someday, you tell yourself.
Someday you'll let people know that yeah, you lied, yes, you're an idiot, of course, you're a douchebag. But it won't be today, you're pretty sure of that. Or tomorrow. Or the day after that or the day after that or--
or if ever.
Oh, how disappointing. How disheartening, and all those other words that start with dis- that make you sad.
But that's life, and you're really just too tired to try and do anything about it.
So you continue to disguise yourself. And it works. For now.
Title: over and over and over
Prompt: 79, The same old thing
Notes: As usual, part of the Mirantae universe. Takes place after Blindfolds.
"So you're ready to move out, then?" Leeteuk asks and looks down at the papers on his desk.
Jongwoon stands at attention and nods almost imperceptibly. “Yes, sir.”
“Relax,” Leeteuk chides. “I thought I told you that already?”
“Sorry, sir,” Jongwoon says. His shoulders slump and his feet take a more comfortable stance. He reaches to brush the hair out of his eyes—damn, he needs a hair cut.
“It’s fine,” Leeteuk says. He looks down at the papers in front of him. “So you want to transfer?”
“Yes, sir,” Jongwoon answers.
‘”Any idea where to?” Leeteuk asks. He’s already digging through a pile of folded maps in the corner of his desk, looking for a suitable one.
“Somewhere in Kyranti would be preferable,” Jongwoon says.
Leeteuk stops and looks back up at him. “In Kyranti?”
“That’s what I said, sir,” Jongwoon replies seriously.
Leeteuk turns to face him squarely. “General, you just came off leave for PTSD.”
“I know,” Jongwoon answers. “But I’m better now.”
“Either way,” Leeteuk says firmly, “I’m not letting you go somewhere like where you got it in the first place.” Jongwoon tries to pretest, but Leeteuk interrupts him. “I know none of the Kyranti bases are as bad as Amistarr. Yet. There’s nothing saying they won’t degenerate into something just as horrible, or even worse, you know.”
“But we won Amistarr,” Jongwoon tries to argue.
Leeteuk sighs. “Yes, you won us Amistarr.” He looks at him with concern. “But what did you give up in return?”
Jongwoon looks down shamefully. Leeteuk taps a finger on the desk thoughtfully. “Look,” he says after a moment. “I can’t put you in Kyranti—the people there are still due to be there for the next while—but what I can do is try and place you in one of the Astanium bases near the border cities. Is that alright?”
Jongwoon hesitates. It’s not as far from Mayglen as, say, Entyrum would be but he thinks it’ll be far enough. “That’s fine.”
Leeteuk spreads out one of the maps. “Alright, let’s see where we put you…” He scans the red-marked border cities. “Is Metrolis alright?” he asks, placing his finger on a city near the ocean on the other side of the continent.
He looks on interestedly despite himself. He’s always wanted to visit the ocean—well, had always wanted to; he’s not so sure about right now—and the best thing is that Metrolis is, even with the map’s small scale, really, really far.
“Metrolis is,” Jongwoon says, and searches for a word. “Perfect.”
“So Metrolis it is,” Leeteuk says amiably. “I’ll file the paperwork as soon as possible, and you should get a call sometime soon telling you when and where to go when you’re ready to leave.”
“Thank you, sir,” Jongwoon says sincerely. He turns to leave but Leeteuk stops him before he can reach the door.
“Wait,” he says, “Just out of curiosity, General, but how old are you?”
“Twenty-four,” Leeteuk murmurs to himself in surprise. “You’re still rather young,” he says.
“Siwon’s younger,” he replies cynically before he can stop himself.
“Siwon’s an exception,” Leeteuk says, amused.
(In many ways, Jongwoon thinks, especially if in that case “exception” means “freak”.)
“The average age for retirement from the military now—at least for actual combat location placement—is thirty,” Leeteuk says contemplatively. “It wasn’t always like that. Have you ever studied ancient world history? As in, before the Mirantae era?” he asks.
“Some, sir,” Jongwoon says. “I’ve probably forgotten a lot.”
“So you know about America, right?” Leeteuk asks. Jongwoon nods. “Their generals and major and even their captains are disgustingly old,” he says with mild distaste. “Like, over fifty old.”
“How did they fight?” Jongwoon asks, surprised.
“They didn’t,” Leeteuk says. “They sat and strategized and did desk jobs and were kind of useless.”
“So then what was the point of them?”
Leeteuk shrugs. “I forget. What I’m trying to say is, now our officials and officers actually fight more than they did. But the problem is, is that now our officers burn out way earlier.”
“Burn out?” Jongwoon questions.
“They get tired. Fed up. Sick of doing the same old thing over and over and over and over. Once you’ve seen one battle, you’ve seen them all. Until something worse comes along.”
“What happens after they…burn out?” Jongwoon asks. He really, really doesn’t like the sound of it.
“Some just leave and go home and try to lead normal lives. Some stay and get desk jobs. Some stay, and well, I don’t know. But I’m off topic. My point is, General,” he looks straight into Jongwoon’s eyes, “you already look burned out.”
“I’m not,” Jongwoon protests. “I’m still fine.”
“Trust me,” Leeteuk says and for once his happy-go-lucky commander sounds worldly and weary and world-weary all at the same time. “I know that look. Anyways,” he says cheerfully. “Good luck with your new assignment, and thank you for continuing your outstanding service.”
It’s a standard dismissal. Jongwoon comes to attention, salutes and turns to go.
“And,” Leeteuk says as he’s almost at the door, “take care of yourself.”
“I’ll try, sir,” Jongwoon promises.